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Latkes: Box-grater vs food processor

I always make my latkes the way my mother did, on the ol' box grater. I'd heard that using a food processor was too rough on the potatoes and the final product wasn't the same. Is this true? Also, I've always make the batter and then cooked them right off. Can you hold the batter ahead at all? (I squeeze every last bit of moisture out of the potatoes and onions before adding the matzoh meal and eggs, if it makes a difference.) What is your opinion?

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  1. I'll be using the food processor this year as my parents have been doing in recent years. They used to use the box grater and sometimes the good old standing grinder - the one you can use to make chopped liver and such. I don't think there's a difference except the processor saves your knuckles. You just have to make sure not to over-process so take out any big chunks still in there if the rest of the mixture is ready.

    As far as I know, you can't hold the batter too long - it will get dark no matter what method you use to retard the oxidation. I'm going to use flour and not matzoh meal though and yes, it is important for the texture to get out as much moisture as you can.

    Are you in the baking powder or no baking powder camp? It helps slow the oxidation and, I think, give the pancakes a nice little puff while still allowing them to remain dense.

    Also, I'll use this thread to make a stand against shredded potato in potato pancakes. I will officially state that if they are made with shredded potatoes they are not only "not" latkes but they aren't any good either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: laylag

      This year I grated the potatoes in the food processor, but then processed some of the grated product with the onions, and mixed it all together. The result was closer to what grandma used to make. Even though I agree that shredded potatoes don't make the best latkes, I'm not ready to give up the convenience of the processor when making large batches.

      1. re: CynD

        We have different Grandmothers...!
        Shredded (long shreds)..make the best most crispy latkes!
        And REALLY thin so they are truly crisp without soft "potatoey".interiors!..this is my favorite...and don't get me started on those made with mashed potatoes!!! Definitely not to my taste!...
        Viva different Bubbe's!

    2. have been using the processor with the grater attachment for a few years. Works very well but as anoher post mentioned there are times when a non-grated piece will stay on top of the blade. just make sure you chick this piece.

      1. I am not Jewish so my opinion probably won't count, but will they suffer in flavor from no blod from scraped knuckles? I am a food processor fan. I also leave the skins on (after scrubbinng well) for added flavor.

          1. re: marlie202

            My mother never owned a box grater. We only had a flat one! This is what she used, and I have one as well.

          2. There was a great recipe in Reform Judaism magazine a few years ago (problematic movement, excellent magazine....). It used a processer, and you processed half the potatoes to a coarse puree with the grinding disk, and the other half you shredded with the shredding disk, and they were the best latkes I have ever had.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alan Divack

              Not so problematic in that the Reform Movement is by far the largest movement in Judaism.....!
              I went out and bought the larger size shredder disc to create shreds similar to a box grater..the shredder blade which came with the machine produced substandard shreds...I'm glad I made this purchase, the latkes (levivot) came out just like my Yiddische grandma's (minus the knuckle blood!)

              1. re: Alan Divack

                Where did you find the large shredder disc?